Let Yoga postures become the stepping stone to your meditation practice
Rakesh, a friend-of-friend, approached me with a peculiar problem. He worked
as a software developer in a reputed company and was suffering from work related
stress for a few years. An year ago he and his family realized that the stress
is affecting his health. And he decided to visit a doctor. As a part of the
overall treatment his doctor also suggested him to include meditation, soothing
music, and such relaxation techniques in his daily routine. Since this
suggestion was coming from a doctor Rakesh decided to take it seriously and
joined a nearby yoga institute.
To his utter surprise meditation as taught by the yoga teachers of the
institute proved to be a horrible experience. He just couldn't sit at one place
with eyes closed! As soon as he used to close his eyes he felt a strange and
strong urge to open the eyes. Forcefully keeping the eyes closed didn't help
either. After a while he used to experience shivering and
perspiration. This whole experience was also accompanied by unexplainable
fear. His multiple attempts to learn meditation in "standard" ways proved
futile. Finally, one of his friend (who happens to be my friend and student) suggested him
to get in touch with me.
After talking to him in an attempt to understand his lifestyle and why he
might be facing this particular problem I realized that teaching meditation in typical way
is not going to work in his case. His mind was full of Tamasic
tendencies - lethargy, anger, sluggishness, fear, insecurity, constantly finding faults in
others - just to name a few. I decided to gradually prepare him so that he can
successfully take to the practice of meditation. All I expected was his sincere
and regular efforts.
My first suggestion to him was a set of simple yet carefully chosen Yoga postures. That's right!
Although meditation appears to be a mind game, it is influenced by many other
factors. A common mistake made by many practitioners of meditation is that they
underestimate the importance of physical body postures or Yogasanas
as a preparatory step towards meditation. If one
approaches meditation through the path of classical Ashtanga Yoga, then
meditation not only becomes an enjoyable activity but also gives concrete and
In order to harness the power of Yoga postures in this manner it is
required that the practitioners clearly understands the following:
- Five sheaths explained in Yogic scriptures - food sheath, energy sheath,
emotional sheath, intellectual sheath, and bliss sheath - are all
interconnected and interdependent. So, whatever you do your body is going to
affect your mind and vice a versa.
- Satvic diet is important and plays a vital role in the process.
- Complex looking Yoga postures aren't necessarily the ones that will give
you best possible results. Figure out what will work for you. Many complex
postures have simpler alternatives.
- While doing Yoga postures you aren't just moving your physical body; you
are also moving Prana!
- Breath is an extremely important (and often ignored) aspect of Yoga
- Certain Yoga postures can give enhanced results if you add certain
to the routine.
- Some Yoga postures are best done with eyes open and some are best done
with eyes closed.
- Sequence of Yoga postures, Mudras, Pranayamas, and Meditation matters.
- Mindfulness during the practice as well as while performing other daily
activities acts like a catalyst.
- While doing Yoga postures if you fix your awareness to certain centers
and channels you will see better results.
In summary, if you combine Yoga postures with satvic diet, proper
breathing, mantras, and proper awareness you will see wonders. What's more
- practice of Yoga postures will become the stepping stone to your meditative
After a few months, gradually I introduced Rakesh to Pranayama, then to Ajapa
Japa, and finally to Ajapa Dhyana. During the Navaratri,
he successfully did nine malas of certain Mantra I prescribed to
him followed by one hour of meditation on all the days. His sincerity, patience,
and dedication finally paid off.
With OM and Peace!
"If you ever feel curious about the cosmos, close your eyes, take the
stairway of breath, and enter the space within. The Inner Cosmos is
waiting to be explored."
Bipin Joshi is an independent software consultant and trainer by profession specializing in Microsoft web development technologies. Having embraced the Yoga way of life he is also a yoga mentor, meditation teacher, and spiritual guide to his students. He is a prolific author and writes regularly about software development and yoga on his websites. He is programming, meditating, writing, and teaching for over 27 years. To read more about him go here. More details about his Kriya and Meditation online course are available here.